Sunday, September 14, 2014
Currently rediscovering both the music and style of Courtney Love after reading Lynn Hirschberg's fascinating celebrity profile of the singer "Strangelove" from 1992. You must read it here. And love her or hate her (is there anyone who falls in between?) 90's era Courtney Love was unquestionably a pioneer of the "Kinder Whore" look. Wearing tattered 30s dresses or too-small pinafores, she prowled around onstage like some kind of deranged love child of Eloise At the Plaza and Nancy Spungen. And it looked fantastic.
I spent my formative teenage years trying to get away with wearing vintage slips and 16-hole Doc Martens, but alas my high school's "no underwear as outerwear" policy made this difficult. Even now there's somewhat of an allure to the way she looked at that time. I guess when someone so totally embodies a lifestyle, their clothing can't really be 'in' or 'out'. It just IS.
Live Through This is a great album. Despite persistent rumors that Courtney didn't write any of her own music, you gotta admit she wails on those tracks. She's got that kind of gravely, soul-baring voice that's just made for punk rock.
The verdict? Yes to ladies who rock and yes to the she's come undone prom whore look. Two thumbs up!
Sunday, September 7, 2014
The very concept of a 'Teen' did not exist until the middle 20th century. Prior to that, human development was thought of as a dichotomy between child and adult. A confluence of historical factors, including the outlawing of child labor, 2 world wars, and an increasingly restless and disenchanted youth led to the cultural concept of the modern day teenager--a person caught in the purgatory between childhood and adulthood, not fully comfortable with either categorization.
'Teenage' is a fascinating documentary on the evolution of teen culture. Using stunning archival footage from the turn of the century through the 1970s, viewers are taken on a journey that reminds us why teenagers are such a distinctive human life form. Whether they were flappers, hoodlums, hoboes, greasers, swing dancers, or mall rats, all teenagers have been defined by their apparent unwillingness to allow themselves to be classified as either children or full blown adults, a condition that is shockingly perplexing to generation after generation of grownups who apparently forget that they were ever teens themselves.
If you're interested in checking out the film, you can watch the trailer here and the movie is available for streaming on Netflix.
Friday, September 5, 2014
It shouldn't ever cease to be amazing, and miraculous even, that an army of robotic Google vehicles have painstakingly mapped and stitched together digital images of the entire developed world. While most people look up directions or check out building facades, Jon Rafman is in search of something more poignant. Scouring the 3D images, he finds fleeting moments captured completely by accident. Sometimes it feels as though the individuals in the images are defiant, distrustful of the 9-camera robots stealing their likeness. Sometimes they seem to be knowing participants. Either way, the tableaus created often carry a visual weight that it seems neither the Google cameras nor their subjects anticipate. Whether they capture a lone upturned vehicle, a herd of horses grazing outside a cemetery, or a lone baby crawling outside of a Gucci store, these images say a lot about our current world and its many versions of daily, mundane life.
All images via Jon Rafman's 9 Eyes project